Presentation on theme: "Why are elections important to democracy? A framework for evaluating elections and campaigns."— Presentation transcript:
Why are elections important to democracy? A framework for evaluating elections and campaigns
Freewrite Why are elections important to democracy? What functions do elections perform? What is necessary for elections to serve those functions? You will hand this freewrite in for participation credit!
What functions do elections serve in a democracy?
Ensuring legitimacy of the government Legitimacy: acceptance of the right of public officials to hold office and to promulgate policies because of the means by which they were chosen.
What’s the difference between the US and other countries? In the news: Iran? Russia? Election 2000
Who really won the election of 2000? Standard Result margin Certified FL resultsBush537 Recount ballots in four countiesBush225 Whole state undervote recountBush493 Whole state recount with only correctly filled out ballotsGore115 Whole state recount using each county's own standardGore171 Whole state recount allowing dimpled chads and partial marks on scantronsGore107
What is necessary to ensure legitimacy? Acceptance of rules Public faith in system? Free speech and association Equal access to voting Accurately count votes Fairly weight votes Enforceable election laws Government must be somewhat effective
2. Solving Principal-Agent Problems (Holding representatives in check) Principal = voters Agent = representative
What conditions allow elections to alleviate principle-agent problems? Frequent elections Competitive elections Political information generally available
3. Ensure governmental responsiveness Elections should cause democratic government to translate citizen preferences into policy.
What conditions promote governmental responsiveness? Voters have access to information about: – policy problems –Candidates –the performance of incumbents
What questions can we ask about our own electoral system based on this framework?